Did you know? Liver is the second largest organ in our body and has over 500 important functions.
It is the powerhouse of our entire system. It works relentlessly every day to detoxify chemicals for digestion to happen effectively.
A few of the vital functions of your liver are to break down carbohydrates, metabolize fats and produce protein and bile which keeps you healthy. A strong liver also helps with the formation of cholesterol, Vitamin D and can be a solution for treating acne-related problems.
Maintaining liver health may not always be our top priority, but in fact you won’t survive a day without the proper functioning of the liver.
There are many foods and drinks that can help maintain and protect liver health. Here are a few superfoods and tips that I recommend you to add to your dietary routine now:
Garlic is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Not only does it help fight against viruses but is important for building stronger immunity. It contains sulphur which helps clean and detoxify our liver. The selenium acid which is found in garlic naturally flushes bad toxins out of our body. It can be consumed in its raw form or can be added to our regular cooking style.
We can also use a mixture of turmeric and black pepper as a substitute for garlic. Having turmeric alone would not be effective. The curcumin found in turmeric has a low absorption power and piperine which is found in black pepper compliments turmeric and combines the benefits of both turmeric and black pepper.
Remember: Turmeric should have a fat base. It can be cooked in either ghee or any other saturated form of ghee. This helps with the absorption power of turmeric. With fatty liver, excess of saturated fats is not advisable. A good option would be to use a mixture of turmeric, black pepper and a reasonable amount of ghee as a tadka.
Otherwise, you could also try making a kadha. Take an inch of ginger, turmeric and 3-4 pieces of raw black pepper to make the kadha.
Having the kadha once a day will be very beneficial for your body. It will enrich you with the healthy properties of curcumin from turmeric, piperine from black pepper, and also help to naturally clean the liver.
Do not forget that moderation is key! Having an excess of anything can turn to be detrimental. Even though turmeric is healthy, having it in excess amounts can act as a blood thinner and could also create digestive problems.
Unhealthy fats should be avoided, but raw coconut oil provides strong anti-inflammatory effects as it metabolizes the liver.
The intake of coconut oil can be increased directly by having a spoon of oil in the morning or can be used through different cooking methods. I encourage you to add coconut oil to your diet as it contains MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) which is helpful for keeping our liver healthy, among the other various benefits.
Coconut water is also another great option, which is readily available. It is known for its instant immunity-boosting properties. A hydrated body makes the functioning of the liver easier.
It is no doubt that nuts and seeds should be a part of one’s diet. Among all other nuts, Walnut is one of the best sources of Omega-3, which acts as an antioxidant and increases the fat metabolism of the liver. It helps reverse the fatty liver condition by naturally detoxifying ammonia.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in walnut cleanses the liver and keeps it healthy. Eating a handful of nuts along with walnuts is recommended. However, too many walnuts should not be consumed as it is high in calories.
Fruits and vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, radishes and cauliflower are wonderful sources of sulphur, which is an essential and necessary component for a healthy liver.
We often advise thyroid patients to ignore cruciferous vegetables, but you can still have such vegetables in moderation. Instead of having its raw form, you could steam or sauté the vegetables to reap their benefits. Most thyroid conditions are related to the functioning of the liver. So, once your liver is clean and healthy, it can significantly help reduce thyroid problems.
Besides vegetables, fruits such as pomegranate and raw papaya contain carnitine and antioxidants, which improves the functioning of the liver. Citrus fruits like lemon are also important for maintaining liver health. To optimize the benefits of lemon, I would suggest mixing a teaspoon of olive oil and half a lemon in warm water in the mornings.
However, remember to look after your overall intake and don’t just focus on creating a checklist of what all to eat. For example, if you have coconut oil in the morning, ghee in the afternoon and then again olive oil, this will generate excessive fats in the body and will be harmful for your liver. That’s why having lemon and olive oil is not mandatory but advisable based on personalized requirements.
Avoid refined sugar and deep-fried foods
Excess of sugar increases the inflammation in the body, creates blood sugar problems and can also increase chances of heart disease. Whenever someone begins a health journey, I always advise them to completely drop sugar intake for 21 days so that the liver can start its cleansing process. Try not to consume refined sugar, honey or jaggery for three weeks and you will gradually start to feel the lightness in your body. This happens because your liver is now relaxed and not burdened by the constant need to break down the carbohydrates.
In today’s world, mostly everyone prefers a sedentary mode of living which leads to unhealthy eating patterns. For example, it is easy to lose track of the intake of refined sugary products or overeating deep-fried foods. Eating processed and packaged food has become a part of our daily life.
Eating unhealthy food accumulates extra fat in our liver and creates a fatty liver. This further paves a path for increased chances of catching diseases because of weak immunity. Small amounts of fat are okay, but a fatty liver can be problematic. There are different grades for measuring a fatty liver ranging from 0 (none) to 5 (severe) but you may not see the symptoms right away.
If we don’t treat fatty liver and adopt a healthy lifestyle soon, then problems such as fibrosis and cirrhosis could arise. In severe cases, it could also lead to cancer sometimes.
Set a window of eating
Having a set time for each meal of the day will make digestion easier. I would advise you to have an early dinner so there’s at least a few hours for the liver to do its job. If you have dinner really late in the night, there is almost no time for the digestion to take place and you will wake up the next morning with an incomplete liver cleansing process.
Maintain a balanced and wholesome dietary routine and look for a lifestyle chance to have a healthy liver and a healthy life.